The importance of the digestive tract, also called the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), is often underestimated. Its purpose may seem to only digest food, absorb nutrients and then excrete waste; however, the world inside the GIT is actually an entire ecosystem, and one that constantly influences our health. The bacterial colonies within this system uses the food we send down, producing nutrients and neurotransmitters, sending signals, influencing inflammation and the immune system, and interacting with the nervous system. There are literally trillions of living microorganisms inside the gut and throughout the digestive system with the power of suggestion over our mood.
Metabolic dysfunctions are fast becoming major risk factors for cardiovascular incidents ie. myocardial infarction, stroke, and non-ischemic cardiovascular disease. The constellation symptoms indicative of metabolic dysfunction include: central obesity (apple body types), glucose intolerance and insulin resistance (eg. non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus), hypertension, dyslipidemia, high markers of inflammation, and poor clotting (hyperfibrinolysis). Given the wide array of symptoms metabolic syndrome was often overlooked, though the current criteria have been established, with three of the five required for diagnosis:
In recent years attention has shifted from total fat to the distribution of fat on a person’s body. The classic apple body type, with the majority of
As mentioned above dyslipidemia is part of the diagnostic criteria for metabolic syndrome, but what does that mean exactly? Well simply put it means high
People with chronically elevated blood sugar levels are twice as likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease and are five times more likely to experience a heart attack. Other frequent complications of having unstable blood sugar levels include retinal damage, blindness (this constitutes 8% of blindness cases in the US), unhealthy blood pressure levels (73% of persons with blood sugar disorders have elevated blood pressure), neuropathy (affecting 60-70% of patients with blood sugar disorders), unhealthy blood vessels, dental disease, increased susceptibility to infections, stroke, kidney failure (main cause of dialysis in developed countries) and ulcer formation, which can lead to tissue damage and amputation (one amputation every 30 seconds worldwide). In some patients, especially earlier in the disease process, exercise, dietary changes and weight loss may restore insulin sensitivity and normalize blood sugar levels. Patients that control their blood sugar levels minimize the damage to their organs (mainly kidneys, blood vessels and eyes) and their incidence of complications is significantly reduced and nearly normal.
High Blood Pressure:
19% of Canadian adults have an unhealthy blood pressure level. Having an unhealthy blood pressure level can lead to serious health problems such as heart disease, heart attack